There has been a lot of debate around the retention payment for direct care workers. As you've seen, we think it’s a good start but it needs to be expanded (sign the petition if you haven’t already).
There's also a lot going around about the implications of lockdowns that were mandated last week. While some facilities had already pulled the trigger, others are now playing catch-up. One of the big issues is what it means if you work across two different facilities (or in community and in a facility).
We’ve been working closely with workers at some facilities where they’ve been tweaking things to make sure your rights are protected. If you hear anything at your workplace, please let us know.
In the meantime, here are few snapshots from around the state in aged care this fortnight.
We received many calls regarding an email Huon Regional Care (HRC) workers received a week ago which outlined COVID-19’s impact at their facilities.
HRC were asking for expressions of interest from workers to take extended periods of annual or long service leave over the coming months.They were also allowing early access to long service leave on a pro-rata basis. Yep, that’s okay. Some workers, for whatever reason, would be happy to have time off and at the end of the day, it’s their choice.
Then came the kicker: HRC were threatening standing down parts of the workforce down if leave was not volunteered.
Our advice to members was they could not be stood down if they are usefully employed. It’s beyond staggering that HRC were claiming workers could not be usefully employed at this time – providing an essential life-saving service during a pandemic.
After we wrote to them, HRC have since done a complete back flip on threats to stand workers down if they didn’t volunteer to take annual leave or long service leave.
If you are working for an employer that is trying to do the same to you, please call us at HACSU.
It’s not fair that any worker should be put under any more stress in the current climate.
We’re here to help.
Polishing off workplace agreements
We’ve been negotiating workplace agreements with a few different employers, and despite everything going on around COVID-19 we’re pleased to say new union agreements for Toosey, Aged Care Deloraine and Aminya have all been put to the vote and have returned “yes” votes. Workers with these employers are now just waiting on the Fair Work Commission to give the agreements the tick of approval.
Advertising shift vacancies
Over a period of time, we’ve had issues with Uniting Age Well with them breaching their agreement around how they fill vacancies. They seemto have had some trouble remembering they have an obligation under the agreement to offer vacancies in the first instance to Permanent Part Time employees, then casuals and finally agency or outside advertising.
Those issues have now largely been resolved, but we have heard from a few UAW workers that there are vacant shifts not being advertised.The advice we’ve been given from UAW is that they won’t be advertising these vacancies at the moment because of the issues created by COVID-19.
If you’ve got questions about a similar issue, get in touch on 1300 880 032.
Facilities securing remote grants
Some aged care facilities were successful in the last round of Regional Rural Remote grants and have started on making improvements.
Aged Care Deloraine has just begun improvements to their kitchen and laundry while Medea Park is planning to repurpose and upgrade rooms to bring it up to a more modern standard. Aminya has started their new extension and from the pics it looks like it will be a fantastic improvement to the facility.
One resident at Southern Cross Care Yaraandoo came into contact with a health worker who has now been identified as having COVID-19 while at the NWRH in Burnie.
The CEO of Southern Cross Care, Robyn Boyd, was quoted by the Advocate as stating:
“Immediately when we were made aware we isolated the resident in a separate confined area of the facility and she is being attended to by staff who will remain in isolation with her.”
The resident is currently not displaying any symptoms but management have advised that they are taking the matter very seriously. SCC have said they are following all the appropriate guidelines and procedures and are beginning to activate the next phase of their emergency preparedness outbreak plan in anticipation of more scenarios like the current resident.
More than 40 residents and staff have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in aged care facilities across Australia and our own Premier, Peter Gutwein, has since announced as of noon last Tuesday visits to any Tasmanian aged care facility would be banned for at least two weeks.
If you have any concerns about COVID-19 in your workplace,please get in touch on 1300 880 032 or email@example.com